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Serious Games - Analytics Are Everything!

 

Posted on Mon, 28/04/2014 - 14:23

An important aspect in serious game development is the use of analytics. Analytics, and more specifically learning analytics, signify the measurement, compilation, and analysis of data for the purpose of optimizing learning outcomes. Analytics are basically “actionable insights,” which means they allow you to take a deeper look at the overall performance of a serious game and determine whether or not it is meeting your game objective. Understanding what, exactly, analytics are and why they are important to serious game development will help you in the design process and also in assessing the educational gain of your game.

Why Analytics Are Important

You may be wondering why it is a good idea (or necessary) to go the extra mile and perform an additional analysis. The answer is that learning analytics and assessments give you the data and information you need to measure how effectively the game is achieving your intended goal. There is also an additional benefit in that analytics provide you with detailed insight into what adjustments you can make to improve your results further.

Analytics collect data and information about the user's experience throughout the game. This information indicates which tasks, rewards, and challenges are helping the learners accomplish the overall objective of the game and which areas they might be struggling with. There are various methods that can be used to collect data, all of which will give you a clearer perspective about how your game is performing and how your audience is interacting with it. The more data you have at your disposal, the greater your ability to make decisions that will ensure success.

Serious Game Analytics

There are numerous ways developers can collect the necessary data, including the following:

 

  • Logging into the game as soon as the user begins, quits, or finishes - This will allow you to notate how many people played the game, how many actually finished it, and how many quit before completing
  • Notating phase changes - This applies to games that are divided into phases or levels By recording when a user finishes a phase, you will be able to determine how the user is distributing their time within the game
  • Logging user performance - This is done by recording when a user hits a certain milestone or level, which will help you establish the user's performance in the game
  • Recording user interaction - This information can be used to determine whether or not a user understands the game mechanics

 

Learning analytics in serious games are imperative to the success of the project. There are many different methods that may fit best with your specific needs, and you must align the analytics to the goals and the learning outcomes. By making a point of collecting data and tracking user progress and other key points throughout the game, you should then be able to determine what is working and what isn't. Once you have a good understanding of how well certain objectives are being met and which are falling short, you will be better informed and able to adjust the game as necessary.